A Heck of an opportunity

Seth Heck started the final 55 games for Mississippi State at shortstop this past spring. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Seth Heck started the final 55 games for Mississippi State at shortstop this past spring. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

STARKVILLE – Seth Heck seemed to be a mainstay in Mississippi State’s lineup starting 55 games during his initial season in the program.

But Heck had to wait for his opportunity at shortstop.

The Bulldogs tried both Matthew Britton and Kyle Hann at the position to begin the year and it was not until the ninth game of the year that Heck got his chance.

It was a chance he made the most of starting every single game the rest of the season.

“When you come here, there’s so many good players and so many guys who can get it done in different ways,” Heck said. “My chance didn’t come until a few weeks into the season. That’s just how it is with adversity, you just have to deal with it. I’ve had to deal with it my whole career. When I got my chance I was lucky enough to have some success early and ran with it.”

Heck hit .299 as a junior with 61 hits, eight doubles, 26 runs batted in and five stolen bases. He also maintained a .984 fielding percentage committing just four errors in 180 chances.

However, Heck’s route to MSU is not the most traditional on the Diamond Dogs roster. A native of Edmonds, Wash., Heck made his way to Mississippi via Tacoma (Wash.) Community College where he hit. 330 with 32 RBI during his sophomore season and was named a NWAACC West Division All-Star.

But there was a drastic adaptation that Heck had to make once he made the transition to the SEC.

“In the Northwest, our junior colleges are all wooden bats,” Heck said. “Both offensively and defensively, I had to adjust to the metal bat. There’s a big difference. The speed of the game is faster and you’ll always see a good arm whether it’s the Friday night guy to the closer. Here there’s lights out guys in the bullpen and in junior college the bullpen will start to fade away with the talent.”

Heck was a late addition to State’s 2013 signing class and was only inked after Adam Frazier decided to turn pro following his junior season.

“Junior college kind of expands the scope of recruiting,” Heck said. “Recruiting and baseball are just a big networks and everyone is connected. It worked out where Frazier decided to sign and they needed an extra guy late and I was available.”

The 5-foot-10, 168-pounder also drew interest from Central Florida among others but he fit the mold John Cohen was looking for in his program.

“I wasn’t a highly recruited guy out of high school or junior college,” Heck said. “They recruit different types of players here and that’s been working for them the last few years.”

Heck is unable to see his parents very often since making the 2,500 mile move to Starkville. But thanks to technology his folks are able to watch nearly every pitch of his games. He is also making a new adopted family each game day at Dudy Noble Field.

“My parents will watch on HailStateTV or when the games are on ESPNU or ESPN3.com,” Heck said. “They came out here for a couple of weekends but the real neat thing is our fans are always out here supporting us. They know the guys who are further away from home and don’t have as much family in the area and they’ll give extra support to you.”

Heck is currently spending his summer with the St. Cloud (Minn.) Rox in the Northwoods League. He is batting .235 with 31 hits, seven doubles, 11 RBI and two stolen bases.

I have covered Mississippi State in some capacity since 2004 and joined the Daily Journal staff in 2013. I enjoy short walks on the beach, performing concerts in my car and watching professional wrestling.

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